The sharing economy empowers people to get the products and services they need from each other. Not only does it make use of underutilized assets and enable a peer-to-peer exchange, the industry has enormous potential to work for entrepreneurs in virtually every space. In a recent article for Entrepreneur, Brett Relander (@BrettRelander) outlines the benefits.
1. Participate in existing businesses
Need some extra cash? Have a 4-door vehicle, extra room or a bit of free time on your hands? Participating in an “on-demand” service gives you the opportunity to help someone else while padding your pocket. Peer-to-peer marketplaces enable the exchange of just about anything and best part is, you can start earning money in just about the time it takes to set up an account. Many platforms charge only a transaction fee, which means it’s free to join. To find an opportunity to piggyback off of an existing business model, check out Collaborative Consumer directory.
2. Peer-to-peer financing
The sharing economy makes it simpler to enter the financial sector with P2P financing. Companies like Lending Club and Upstart allow you to circumvent traditional forms of banking and provide an innovative new business environment that adds value to both investors and clients. Even though there are still regulations, the process is much less complicated than establishing a bank or traditional loan company.
3. Low startup cost
Entrepreneurs often enter the sharing economy market with only a few hundred dollars in capital. In his new book, The Business of Sharing, Alex Stephany explains how the industry is full of millions of micro-entrepreneurs that are able to build successful businesses in an environment with little or no government oversight or taxation. Many of the most successful sharing economy startups began with a modest pocket book.
4. Potential to barter
Some sharing economy businesses work without the actual exchange of money. Companies like Yerdle allow you to swap virtually anything with any other marketplace user. Instead of using cash, you build a credit of Yerdle Dollars when you give your item away, which you can redeem on someone else’s item. In terms of online safety, think about how awesome it is to never have to type in your credit card number!
With so many innovative business models available, there is essentially something for everyone. And according to a recent Consumer Expenditure Survey, baby boomers are are picking up on this millennial-driven trend. It’s clear that the sharing economy is becoming the way of the future. Do you have the next big idea? Share in a comment below!